Once Burke County got to the same point it was in a year ago, it was adamant – even strongly believed – the result was going to be different this season.
“No doubt we were a little wide-eyed,” Bears coach Eric Parker said about the 2010 semifinal game, which was a 49-15 loss to Carrollton. “I think our kids wanted to come back and prove (themselves).”
A year later, it was the Bears (13-1) who were winning big in the 63-28 win against Gainesville.
Just one year after losing by 34 points in the Class AAA state semifinals, the Bears won by 35.
It was the eighth game this season Burke County won by more than 30 points, and the seventh contest it put up at least 40 points. It also upped its scoring average to 45.6 points per game.
“We talked about that in December,” said the Bears’ Montres Kitchens, addressing the team’s dedication to make amends for the loss to Carrollton. “That’s all we talked about. Now we’re going to the Dome.”
THE ABERRATION: Burke County lost two yards on its first rushing attempt, threw an incompletion on the next play and gained only three yards on its initial offensive possession of the game.
After that, the Bears rushed for 533 yards on the remaining 56 plays, not attempting another pass.
Following the three-and-out, the Bears averaged 9.5 yards per play – seven carries went for at least 20 yards – and moved past 600 points on the season.
THE MATCHUP: When the Bears and Peach County meet in the Georgia Dome at 4:30 p.m. Saturday for the state championship, it will mark the first gridiron meeting between the two schools.
Burke County is in the final game for the first time since 1997, when it lost to Thomas County Central, 21-19.
The Trojans’ previous championship trip is a little more recent, as Peach County defeated Gainesville, 13-12, to win the 2009 Class AAA crown.